This striking home, located at 22 Roble Road, with its impressive presence and remarkable history, been a part of Berkeley's growth and unique architectural development since its construction in 1925.  It was one of the many distinctive homes that was created in the Claremont area of the Berkeley hills under the careful eye of Duncan McDuffie, who made it his home, and entertained here for many years in his role as a real estate developer in partnership with Joseph Mason, creating the Mason McDuffie Real Estate Firm.  

The home was designed by Willis Polk, a prominent architect in the Bay area who also designed many of the buildings in downtown Piedmont.  The grounds and gardens were created by the world renown Olmstead Brothers.  Because of this impressive pedigree, the home and gardens were landmarked in 2011 with a Mills Contract in Berkeley.  It offers 6 bedrooms and 7 1/2 bathrooms in remarkable  9857  +/-  square feet of living space. 

Because this residence was devoted to gracious entertaining, a reverse perspective of the opening view seen here reveals this extensive back yard with its large expanse of lawn space that is ideal for gatherings, or just relaxing with friends.   Steps lead up to what can effectively be used as a stage for musical or social events. The dramatic central urn is reflected in a line of urns along the left side of the yard under the stately pergola to the left.  

The gracious Mediterranean atmosphere of the home is revealed here in this inviting full length pergola with its vine covered roof that was designed as a perfect retreat on hot, sunny days.  

To the far right of the property, and at a lower level, is this inviting heated pool that recalls simple Roman architectural features as revealed in the graceful archways, spacious decks, and pleasing, restful gardens 

Just below the pool is beautifully conceived landscaping, much of which can be seen throughout the grounds, and offer restful retreats for residents and guests alike.  

This sweeping perspective of the home reveals that it has been diligently restored and updated throughout, yet still retains its original grace and charm.  It has 3 stories, and sixteen rooms on just under an acre of land. 

Additional upgrades include custom window replacements throughout, rewiring, and replumbing with copper pipes, a new tankless water heater, and Tesla power wall energy storage.  

Another view illustrates one of the multiple locations available for indoor/outdoor living and entertaining.  Here, wide doors and windows can open for easy passage in and out of the home to the grounds and gardens.  

Moving to the front door of the residence, seen above, the scene reveals the commitment to the Mediterranean design that is reflected throughout the residence.  Classic influences include arched windows and doorways, wrought iron balconies, red tile roofs, off white colored buildings, and welcoming shaded gardens and courtyards.

A reverse view from the front door offers this scene of an expansive and shaded courtyard space.  A perfect welcome for guests, and a ideal private retreat for residents.  

The entry of this residence was no doubt designed to impress guests, and it succeeds most effectively. An exceptional chandelier hangs dramatically from the  massive open beam ceiling high above.  Two paired incised pillars support a graceful arched entryway, and the elegant stairway to the second floor is enhanced with an outstanding wrought iron railing.

As guests move into the living room, the first impression is one of both space and light.  While the open beam ceiling is dramatic, it is not to be outdone by the radiant light that flows in from the windows and doors that open to the outside grounds. 

The size of the room invites a wide variety of potential design conceptions for new residents to consider.  Directly ahead at the far wall, is a pair of virtually floor to ceiling windows that look out on the expanse of the rear yard.  

Just off to the left of the room's entry is a generously sized fireplace that has been imaginatively covered with a wooden front facing that picks up the influence of the beams above.  The his room is one of many pleasant living spaces that has been created throughout the lower rooms.  

Ahead, and to the far right of the living room, is this charming seating area that is settled close to one of the many built in bookcases that will be seen throughout the residence.  

Continuing through the first floor, one can see that a great deal of the floorspace has been devoted to library and work space, with literally walls of built in bookcases and accompanying reading and living areas.   A unique fireplace seems a suitable accompaniment to a relaxing seating area.   

Additional space is seen here, and the far larger room is highlighted with multiple gracefully arched windows with views to the exterior grounds  The sliding wooden door can be closed to insure privacy in the smaller room if desired.  

Tall brushed glass doors open onto the expansive dining room that has been imaginatively updated, yet still retains the Mediterranean flair with floor to ceiling arched windows and doors that open to the spacious and welcoming patio and grounds.  

The inviting dining room is spacious, and is highlighted by a uniquely decorated circular fireplace-an ideal accompaniment to a pleasant evening with friends and residents.  If a luncheon, formal tea, or special event is planned, the table is easily converted into a buffet center allowing guests to move freely throughout the home and grounds.

The adjacent kitchen has undergone extensive remodeling, as can be seen above.  Two islands are available for use as both serving and preparation spaces, and provide sizeable storage space below for both serving and preparation pieces.  The most demanding of chefs will appreciate the latest amenities which include a gas range/cooktop, freestanding range/oven, a refrigerator and a microwave.  

There are six bedrooms in the residence.  The home's agent has furnished a picture of one, seen here, as representative of the others.  Generous in size, it provides doors to the outside patio area, and a flexibility of floor plan.  

To continue the theme regarding bedrooms, there are an amazing 7 1/2 bathrooms available, this view representing one.  Glowing with light from its many windows, it is both luminous and appealing.  

Without question, there are very few homes available that combine this historic grace and charm with a dedicated updating designed to retain the best of both elements.  If you have an interest in this home, or others like it, please call me with your questions at (510) 517-6280.  This residence is being offered for sale for $12,000,000.  

(Listing Courtesy of Candice Economides and David Hill of The Grubb Company) photo credits to Marion Brenner, David Duncan Livingston and Liz Rusby

Posted by Bruce Wagg on


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